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March 31, 2009

Scholarship Held Up

Last fall a member family in the Phoenix area found out that their son could be eligible for a scholarship at Paradise Valley Community College. Because he had scored so high on the COMPASS test when he applied, Simon Moorefield (name changed to protect privacy) was invited to apply for the President’s Scholarship.

In order to be eligible for the President’s Scholarship, a student has to have either graduated from an accredited high school in Maricopa County in the top 15% of his class or be a high school graduate and meet a minimum score on one of three college placement tests. The COMPASS test was one of the acceptable tests.

After applying for the scholarship, Paradise Valley notified the Moorefield family that their son Simon would have to have his high school credits certified by a third party (someone other than his parents). Otherwise he would have to take the GED in order to remain eligible for any award.

Once they were notified of these issues, Mr. and Mrs. Moorefield contacted the Home School Legal Defense Association for help. Staff Attorney Thomas Schmidt contacted Paradise Valley and pointed out that the Moorefields had submitted high school transcripts demonstrating that Simon had completed high school.

Schmidt also pointed out that the federal government recognizes the right of homeschool parents to “self-certify” that their child has graduated from high school. Homeschool students are eligible, on the basis of their homeschool diploma and/or transcripts, for federal financial aid.

Paradise Valley agreed to review their policy of requiring third party verification for homeschool graduates. Shortly after receiving a follow-up letter from Schmidt, the family was notified that Simon had been awarded the President’s Scholarship.